[SPOILER ALERT: THIS STORY CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT THE WINNER OF "JEOPARDY!"]
Buzzy Cohen won the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions presented by Consumer Cellular in the episode that aired Friday.
The 32-year-old Los Angeles-based music executive proudly claimed the $250,000 grand prize. Alan Lin, a 26-year-old software engineer, earned $100,000 in second place, while Austin Rogers, a 38-year-old bartender from New York City, took home $50,000 in third place.
“Going backstage after Game 1 there was definitely a little pit in my stomach at first,” Cohen admitted in a statement sent to Fox News Friday. “I was consoling myself saying, ‘Alright, well you won $50K, that’s nothing to slouch at.’ A few folks on the crew were trying to help me not get too down, but after a little moment I just said ‘Well, you can’t have a Cinderella story if you’re already in first.’ I was kind of joking, but I think it helped me reframe the situation to my advantage.”
A big Daily Double wager in the Double Jeopardy! round proved to be the turning point for Cohen, who bet everything he had – a whopping $10,800 — on a clue in “The Body Human” category.
“Even in the first round of the second final game I think I was [still] in third place, but then I caught fire… moving into first place by the time I hit the Daily Double,” explained Cohen. “It was in a category that we hadn’t been in yet, so there was a big question mark, but I knew I had to make it a true Daily Double. When I got it right, I knew that I was back in this competition and just did my best to get all the way home.”
Cohen, who is currently in talks with his wife about how to spend his grand prize, said winning a quarter million dollars is “unbelievable.”
“I’m just grateful to be a part of ‘Jeopardy!’ history, and I had such a blast doing it,” he said.
Alan Lin, who finished second, went into the finals with decisive quarterfinal and semifinal victories under his belt.
Lin also faced uncertainty.
“I was incredibly nervous coming into the tournament, not sure that I would even get past the quarterfinals,” explained Lin. “Austin [Rogers] especially was a big unknown. All I knew is that he had won 12 games and a lot of money, so when I heard I was going up against him in the first round, my goal was honestly just shooting for a wild-card spot. But then I think I played the best game of ‘Jeopardy!’ I’ve ever played and got the lock game, which really helped my confidence, though that confidence promptly deserted me the next day.”
Lin said Cohen proved to be a worthy competitor.
“Buzzy is strong and consistent, so between the three of us, I knew it was going to be a very competitive match,” he said. “I was also thinking that I would be going up against two of the biggest personalities we’ve had on ‘Jeopardy!’ in the past few years. I didn’t want to be the boring one!”
As for Rogers, he was just excited to be a part of the iconic game show.
“We were all champions already, so any outcome was just gravy,” said Rogers. “While sitting for lunch, Alan, Buzzy, and I said ‘Hey – all of us already have $50,000 guaranteed – so who cares?’”